Onions: The smell of freedom

by Diana Alzeer: Front Line Echo, 20 June 2011

He ran towards us with a black piece of cloth wrapped around his mouth and nose, I could see his red eyes were about to pop out.  He handed my mom something, and pushed a smelly “thing” in my face; it smelled like onion, but I couldn’t tell for sure.
I was only 4 years old when I experienced tear gas for the first time.  I was confused–my blurry eyes didn’t help, nor did my runny nose.  I was worried about choking.  I looked up at my Mom, saw nothing but a blurry figure of her; I later on found out she was smelling an onion too.  I wanted to speak to her, say to her, “mom, help me, I can’t breathe….”
My heart rate goes up, I can feel it; I feel the beat in my eyes, my head is about to explode.  My mom’s arms are around me now, she pulls me up and starts running.  Someone stops us and I feel the exchange of my tiny body from mom’s arms to someone else’s arms.  I remember disliking the exchange but had no energy to speak up.
I later regain my sight.  I wonder what it is, this cool place with no smelly stuff.  A group of people are all sitting on the floor smelling onions too.  Why onions??  My little brain wonders if it’s some sort of onion festival.
We were walking toward the main taxi station in Nablus city, my hand holding tight to my mom’s when we saw some “Shabab” running around, screaming: “Run… Run, they are coming this way!”  My mom’s steps started  getting faster and faster.   Less than thirty seconds later, she stops to look down at me; my eyes lose it, I feel sick and the onion comes in.
That was my first experience of gas canisters and the “amazing feeling of it”.  Twenty years later,  here I am in Nabi Saleh, Bilin and Qalandia checkpoint, hand in hand with fellow friends.  The feeling is different.  Although tear gas does not feel any better, now it’s different–my feeling of it is different.
Having met a group of young Palestinians who share my thoughts, my beliefs on the non-violent struggle, and seeing them dedicated to the cause of freedom and justice for our beloved Palestine, invokes in me an exotic positive feeling in mind and soul.

European Union expresses concern over the persecution of Bassem Tamimi

by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 17 June 2011


EU representative to UN Human Rights Council stated on Tuesday that “The rights of Israeli and Palestinian Human Rights Defenders protesting peacefully […] are severely curtailed”, mentioning Tamimi’s case explicitly.

ean Union expressed its concern last Tuesday that Palestinian “human rights defenders continue to be detained for their non violent protests”, specifically mentioning the case of West Bank protest organizer, Bassem Tamimi. The statement was given on behalf of the EU during the 17th session of the UN’s Human Rights Council. Click here to see the full statement.

The Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations Office in Geneva officially said on behalf of the EU that “The rights of Israeli and Palestinian Human Rights Defenders protesting peacefully against settlements and the separation barrier are severely curtailed. While the EU welcomed before this Council in March the release of Abdallah Abu Rahma, the EU is concerned that other human rights defenders continue to be detained for their non violent protests. The EU is observing the trial, which opened on 5 June before an Israeli military court, of Bassem Tamimi, an activist of the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh affected by the illegal settlement expansion. The EU is also concerned by reports that journalists in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are exposed to severe harassment as this affects negatively the right to freedom of expression. Impunity for such acts is unacceptable.

Tamimi’s next hearing will take place on the June 27th at the Ofer Military Court , when testimonies will be heard in this case for the first time.

Mohammed Khatib, coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said, “As September gets nearer and nearer and attack on the Palestinian popular struggle intensify, the world must make clear to Israel that just like neighboring Arab regimes, it too will not be allowed to crack down on civil resistance. This is an important step, but I am afraid the international community will have to take much stronger steps to assist us in achieving our freedom”.

Continue reading “European Union expresses concern over the persecution of Bassem Tamimi”

European consuls attend non-violent demonstrations in Nabi Saleh

On Friday, 17 June, the Consuls from Malta, France, EU and Holland attended the non-violent demonstrations in Nabi Saleh to observe the village’s resistance to Israel’s ongoing occupation.   In response to the non-violent demonstration, the Israeli Occupation Forces violently attacked village residents and supporters with teargas and rubber bullets.  

Video by Tamimi Press